Part two of my transport nightmare: I was stuck on an airplane for as hour and a half as it slowly turned into a weird social experiment. (Future Jen - this event happened two weeks ago and was written as it unfolded. Read part 1 here: https://theemeraldruby.com/the-emerald-ruby/2019/8/11/australiantransportisbroken)
You thought I was done, but my god, this day of transportation hell is not over. Part two of this tale is being written on the heavenly sky bus leaving from Avalon airport, an hour away from my gig that started 10 minutes ago.
I'm going to preface this post with this - the cabin crew did a wonderful job at keeping everyone civilised. I honestly think there would have been a riot without their professionalism. The pilot tried his best, but it was obvious from his tone, and the lack of information he was sharing with the cabin that he wasn't equipped for this situation.
For those of you who don't know Melbourne, it has two airports. The one close to the city (Tullamarine) and the one far from the city (Avalon). According to my calculations, I left two and a half hours of emergency failure time, and booked my flight to land at Tullamarine so I could 100% make my gig, even if things went to shit.
A combination of weather and not enough fuel meant we had to land at Avalon. This should have been a smooth routine exercise, but the captain of our sky boat began an unintentional game of psychological chicken.
Pro tip (this goes for you too Sydney trains)- if you ever find yourself in the situation where you have to keep a large group of long distance travellers calm and happy, give them these 3 things :
1) a reason why you're delayed and why the delay is unfixable
2) an estimated time of arrival, or departure, updated as frequently as you are updated. (Also, you're better off saying 'I don't know' then 10 more minutes every 15 minutes for an hour)
3) alternatives transport options.
We were given 1) but 2) and 3) were almost completely neglected by the captain. We were taking off 'in 10 minutes' about 7 times over the course of an hour and a half. We were also informed that we could leave the plane if we wanted, but if one person left everyone had to leave, and re-board which would take an hour.
This is where the crowd turned rabid. Those who had decided to leave were bullied by irate vocal passengers one by one until they all sat down. Every time someone stood up and looked as if they were going to leave, they were yelled at.
It was fascinating and bizarre to watch the cabin gain hope, then loose trust in the captain. It happened about half an hour in, around the third '10 more minutes' announcement. Obnoxious 'calling out guy' went from yelling out 'stay on the plane' to 'we should all get off the plane' around this time.
When the first people decided to disembark there were no more taunts or jeers. Just gasps of exasperation. The fog of defeat hung heavily in the air.
I also won't be receiving a refund because the flight was delayed by an Act of god. I completely understand that. What is unacceptable is the psychological nightmare I was trapped in afterwards. This situation was not handled appropriately, but it doesn't matter, because 'it's our protocol'. They’ve defended themselves with unhelpful customer service and cooperate jargon. I will not be flying with them again.
In unrelated news - I can honestly say this spotted yellow dress is currently my favourite. It’s so comfortable and bright - the fit and colour make me ludicrously happy. On this particular day I decided to add a splash of Red for contrast. The bow is a prototype for my first dip into handmade fashion items (stay tuned ;P)